Olympic Marathon Trials Course Preview

Click to view larger image. Photo: USA Track & Field

Click to view larger image. Photo: USA Track & Field

Like the Olympic marathon course, it features three spectator-friendly loops.

Written by: Mario Fraioli

The Chevron Houston Marathon course is a single, scenic 26.2-mile loop that showcases the entire city and is lined with fans from start to finish. It’s known for being flat and fast—a favorite amongst personal-best seekers.

In contrast, the specially-designed Olympic Marathon Trials course, which will contest the men’s and women’s Olympic Marathon Trials the day before the popular annual event, begins with a single 2.2-mile “inner” loop, followed by three identical 8-mile loops.

Similar to the standard marathon course, it features a mostly-flat layout, which is also spectator friendly, and mimics the multi-loop course that will be run at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

“The first iteration of the Olympic Trials Marathon course used in the USA Half Marathon Championships was a balance between the request for an eight-mile loop to emulate London and ever-present city traffic concerns,” said Brant Kotch, president and race director of the Houston Marathon Committee. “We have now modified the route to minimize and reconfigure the out-and-back sections, and we believe that the revised course will be very positively received by athletes and spectators alike.”

The race will start and finish in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center, and athletes will run counter-clockwise for the entire race, finishing on a 190-meter straightway in front of thousands of screaming fans.

This piece appears in the January issue of Competitor magazine.

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